5 Must Do Things In Macau On The Cheap

During our last visit, Macau has surprised us with many things such as enormous skyscrapers with fancy design, delicious egg tarts, poor areas located just in front of posh casinos, stunning Portuguese architecture, bakeries and coffee shops located everywhere, the smell of smoked pork meat in the street and the whole city being closed till 11 am.

Chinese lanterns hanging on Macau buildings.
Chinese lanterns hanging on Macau buildings

Although Macau is perceived by many as one of the most expensive places to visit, there are still plenty of budget-friendly activities you can enjoy here. Actually, we found more free spots to sightsee in Macau than in Hong Kong! Whether you are traveling with kids, friends or solo, there are few things that, in our opinion, must be done when visiting the Las Vegas of China.

1. Taste Egg Tarts. 

Our culinary experience in Macau on the cheap was one of the most unforgettable things we have done here. For us, travel foodies, there is nothing better than trying new food and mixing different flavors. Macau, without a doubt, is a place where you will appreciate a great mixture of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, well known for its steamed or boiled seafood, grilled and roasted pork/ beef, egg tarts and seaweed egg rolls.

Delicious egg tart
Delicious egg tart

Pastéis de nata- known as egg tarts, are one of the most common local delicacies. They are creamy, soft and delicious and taste best hot. You can have them with a glass of Portuguese red wine or an espresso!

2. Stroll down the Senado Square.

Senado Square Macau
Senado Square in the afternoon. Not very busy and still charming.

Senado Square is Macau’s urban center where all big events and national holiday celebrations take part. When in Macau, it’s definitely a must see place for two reasons.

Senado Square Macau at night
Senado Square at night

Firstly, it’s a cozy and laid back place where you can relax, stroll down the streets admiring wave-patterned mosaic colored stones and Portuguese styled windows and walls and drink a nice Portuguese espresso on a sunny day.

A girl and a boy are at Senado Square
Me and Cez exploring the Senado Square
two cups of Starbucks coffee
Having an iced frappuccino from Starbucks – must do!

Secondly, the whole square looks stunning at night! Are you traveling with a partner and looking for a romantic spot? Here it is!

 3. Play poker at Casino. 

Gambling is the main reason Macau attracts its visitors. Since 1847, when gambling was officially legalized, the place has been attracting millions of people (over 27 millions last year) who mostly come here for gambling.

Casino Lisboa in Macau
Casino Lisboa in Macau

The casinos, springing up like mushrooms after the rain, have had a massive impact on island’s architectural and cultural development  Once you go there, you can notice how posh and glamorous the city is and while strolling down the streets at night you will feel like in Las Vegas.

Chinese losing their money in casino
Chinese trying to win some money in casino

We recommend to have a set budget for gambling before entering a casino, and sticking to it. Alternatively, best way to play poker with less risk of going overboard is to do it online.

4. Explore Ruins of St.Paul.

Ruins of St. Paul are the highlight of Macau.

Ruins of St.Paul
Ruins of St.Paul

These 17th century ruins are the main touristic attraction of this place.

Ruins of St.Paul
Closer look at Ruins of St.Paul

Although the place is incredibly crowded every day, there is no excuse to grab a tour guide, walk there and learn some stuff about Portuguese history, architecture and art.

Busy Ruins of St.Paul
Look how busy this place is!

5. Get to Monte Forte and see Macau from above.

Monte Forte is a famous Macau fort which features a public park, an observatory and the Macau Museum. Built in the 16th century, it was used as a military base.

On top of Monte Forte
On top of Monte Forte

It is located a few meters walking distance from the famous ruins of St. Paul Church so you can visit these two attractions at once! Monte Forte is being preserved perfectly and it is open to visitors every day (free of charge). You can enjoy a stunning view over Macau from here!

Macau landscape seen from the top of Monte Forte
Macau landscape seen from the top of Monte Forte

Now tell us that Macau is expensive…

What would be your favorite must-do thing in Macau? Craving egg tarts or maybe a romantic walk through Senado Square?


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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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43 thoughts on “5 Must Do Things In Macau On The Cheap”

  1. Mary {The World Is A Book}

    It’s really great to know that there’s more to Macau than casinos. I’ve always been fascinated with the ruins of St Paul. It looks like a great place to visit and awesome that there are many free and cheap things to do.

  2. Casino? You said the magic word! After my Sun City Experience in South Africa, going a playing something into a casino ( of course no more than 50$ per night, I would do it probably in each city I am going to visit!

  3. Stefania - the Italian Backpacker

    It must be a fascinating place with the Portuguese influence in an Asian setting. I’d love to visit one day, even though I’m not a big fan of casinos.

  4. I LOVED these Macanese eye tarts! When I went through boxes of them. They’re slightly different from the Chinese version, but I still love them! Also a fan of Senada Square and St. Pauls ruins. Awesome place.

  5. The ruins look absolutely amazing, Agness. I had no idea on the gambling in Macau. Even living in a gambling city here in Reno I’ve always stayed away from it,though. One of my favorites in your post was the canon at Monte Forte. I will take a couple of those egg tarts please! The Senado Square at night is so beautiful and I’m always up for a romantic walk! Great picture of you and Cez by the way :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Mike. Macau is a typical gambling place but we didn’t go overboard on spending our money there. We loved the Senado Square, it was so charming!

  6. Great post guys! Macau is such an interesting place. I did a day trip from Hong Kong but should have stayed for longer. Did you win any money in the casinos? I didn’t :(

  7. By judging with your shots, Macau is the place to be. Can’t wait to taste the egg tarts and having a Romantic stroll at Senado Square.

  8. Never been to Macau or really even thought about it, but now I’m wondering why not! Actually, your number 1 pretty much sold it for me. :)

    I had no idea that Macau was seen as “expensive”, but thinking about it, it makes sense. I also didn’t know that there was such a good mix of old and new culture to explore. Thanks!

  9. Indeed, Macau is one of the best travel destinations in the world because you travel and spend less without comprising the fun and experience. You get to see what the Asian culture and history is all about.

  10. Great photos, Agness! I love Atlantic City and the only other casino destination in the world on the ocean, I’m told, is Macau. I made it to Hong Kong but Macau’s still on my to-do list. For now, I’ll have to settle for an egg tart in one of Toronto’s many Chinatowns.

  11. Wouldn´t mind going there in November to see the Macau Grand Prix:) Apparently, one of the most challenging circuits in the world..The close-up of the St. Paul ruins is gorgeous, by the way!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      My friends went to Macau last month for the Macau Grand Prix and they had an amazing time. The photos showed how great the event was :).

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